Enhancing Museum Tours with Live Subtitles

Enhancing Museum Tours with Live Subtitles

At Stagetext, as well as providing live subtitles for a wide array of online and in person talks, conferences and events, we also offer live subtitles as an option to make onsite guided tours accessible to deaf, deafened and hard of hearing visitors.  

Recently, we ran a live subtitled tablet tour at Towner Eastbourne Museum so that visitors that previously were unable to access their regular Art Store tours for access reasons were finally able to attend.  

One of the great bits of feedback that we got from the organisers of the tour was just how simple and easy it was to set up. Since tours normally involve moving around a space rather than remaining seated watching subtitles on a static screen it is a little bit different to our usual services, so, let’s explore. 

Set up: 

So, how easy is it to organise a live subtitled tour? The format is no different from any other tour, with one key addition: the tour guide wears a microphone connected to a call (usually via Zoom). This enables everything that the guide says to be sent directly to our remote speech-to-text reporters (STTRs) who follow the conversation and produce subtitles in real-time, instantly sending them to screens, or in this case, handheld devices.  

Customisable Experience: 

Attendees can access the live subtitles either through tablets provided by the venue or Stagetext, or on their own devices. This can be as simple as just scanning a QR code on their smartphones on arrival or providing the link in advance with tickets. But the beauty of this access extends far beyond mere transcription. Users can customise the subtitles to their preferences, adjusting the text size, colour, background, and even font, ensuring a comfortable and personalised experience tailored to everyone. This means that not only do the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing attendees benefit, but also those with different/additional access requirements such as neurodivergent visitors or those with a visual impairment.  


Benefits Galore: 

One of the standout benefits of live subtitling a tour via handheld devices, is the ability to revisit crucial information at any point during the tour. If you missed a fascinating fact or struggled to catch the pronunciation of an unfamiliar term, you can simply scroll back through the subtitles. This level of accessibility is invaluable, especially in information-rich settings like museums and galleries. Another fantastic benefit is the fact that subtitles can help with concentration as well as assisting with learning and of course as an additional resource for those with English as a foreign language. 


Anywhere any time: 

At Stagetext, we take pride in our ability to deliver live subtitles from virtually anywhere. As long as there’s a stable internet connection and a strong audio feed, we’re ready to go. This remote capability is particularly advantageous for museum and gallery tours, where traditional STTR equipment may not be practical for a group moving through large venues. 


The impact of live subtitling on museum tours is overwhelmingly positive. The Art Store tour at Towner Eastbourne was a huge success, with attendees praising the experience. One participant, Mike, expressed their delight, stating, “Compared to live subtitles in TV, there were barely any delay between what was being said and the subtitles”. The members of museum staff were equally enthused, expressing gratitude for Stagetext’s “generous support” and saying that they “enjoyed the whole experience and learned so much about the process”, acknowledging the valuable insights gained for future accessible events.  

Why we do it?  

At Stagetext, we’re committed to breaking down barriers and creating inclusive cultural experiences for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing within the arts. Incorporating live subtitling into your museum tours isn’t just about accessibility, it’s about enhancing the overall experience for all participants. With seamless integration, customizable features, and national reach, live subtitling opens doors to a more inclusive and educational journey through art and history. Get in touch with us today to explore how you too can offer new ways for attendees to access your collections.  

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